Baldwin, KS Frat House Fire Kills Five, Aug 1976


Baldwin, Kan. (AP) -- Authorities blame the lack of a fire escape for the deaths of five persons in a three-story fraternity house at Baker University.
"The reason for the five deaths was that there was no way off that top floor," said FLOYD DIBBERN, Kansas state fire marshal.
ARCH CARLSON, chief of the Baldwin Fire Department, said the fire was drawn up to the top floor through the three-story staircase. Authorities said they believed the fire was started by a cigarette dropped on a sofa.
One of those killed had stayed behind to warn other residents and to call firemen.
GERALD WYATT, a Kappa Sigma member from Tulsa, said he was awakened about 3 a.m. Sunday by someone screaming, "Fire! Fire!" It was one of the victims STUART McCOY, a 21-year-old sophomore from Overland Park, firemen said later.
WYATT said he could hear McCOY calling the fire department from a nearby room on the second floor. "I tried to get in his room but it was impossible. I walked about four feet. I couldn't see anything."
WYATT woke up other members of the house while McCOY told the fire department dispatcher: "Hurry up, they're burning up in here."
The other four victims were all found on the top floor. McCOY and a guest, MARK H. MORRIS, 22, of Lenexa, were identified through dental records. MORRIS was a former officer of the chapter and was helping with rush week activities.
Also identified through dental records was DAVID C. SLOOP, 21, of Independence.
Two bodies remained to be identified. Authorities sought to determine whether the bodies were those of two missing persons, STEVEN HOGE, 21, the fraternity president, and THEODORE BAILEY, 19, of Hillside, Ill.

Atchison Daily Globe Kansas 1976-08-30